Parents. I love you all, even if I do not know you. Without you, I wouldn’t have any precious gems to coach. You are the backbone of our sport, and all that we do. However, sometimes your back just hurts.

Please bear with me on this one. It’s going to be honest, and it will be kind of long, but there are just some things I need you to understand. When I decided that I wanted to be a blogger, I went in as myself. I am honest, I am raw, and I refuse to sugarcoat. As I have stated previously, I am fueled on emotions, and I get it–the truth stings sometimes. Here is a prime case: we, as writers, and we, as coaches, want you to see the positive; we will tell you everything that you WANT to hear, but not everything you sometimes need to hear. This is where I come in, and, once again, I wear my villain crown with pride.

1. Do not befriend us in hopes to score brownie points for your cheerleader(s).
It’s not fair, and it is not right. I reluctantly trust everyone until you burn me one time. Fool me once, shame on you. We are here, and we would LOVE to have a fantastic relationship with you! We want to answer your questions; we want to be able to vent to you with confidence that you understand that we sometimes say things out of emotion. Unfortunately, we run across hard lessons in life. Those we felt were actually friends turned out to be a snake in the grass… only there out of convenience, and in the hopes that any flaw to their cheerleader will be masked by a coach’s ‘loyalty’ to the parents. These parents do not take into account that the only people we are entitled to be loyal to is our team, and our team alone. What they don’t realize is if I don’t play favorites with my own daughters, I am certainly not going to with yours!

2. We do things in the best interest of the team.
Is there an ‘I’ in there? Am I supposed to be an ‘I’ in the word ‘team’? No, I don’t think so. As coaches, it is our job to do everything in our power to get our athletes where the need to be, and sometimes, that takes sacrifices. We DO know what we are doing. We more than likely know about the sport more than you do, or else the roles would be reversed. We are able to see every cheerleader for everything they are–every fault and every strength. We put your children in the positions where they will SHINE. It’s best for the team, and in the end, best for your child. We don’t take them out of a stunt or prime spot to spite you, or to make your pride and joy feel irrelevant. They do play a very large part in their team. The team fails and succeeds as one. If you don’t understand, ask. We will usually respectfully explain anything to you in hopes that you understand. If you don’t, I mean… sorry??

3. Your athlete is a reflection of YOU.
With every move we make as a parent, our child watches. Kids take in valuable life lessons from their parents that will set them up for adulthood. You throwing a temper tantrum because little Susie isn’t front and center is sending what kind of message? When you bad talk us, we know by the way they treat us, or by the fact that they will be the first to say, “my mom said this about you, and I don’t think you’re that bad.” OH! Life lessons. I love these: there are approximately seven billion people in this great big world of ours. Yes, your athlete is the sun in your life. No one is better than them… in your eyes. I would never put down a kid, and it’s downright frustrating when YOU do it to other people’s kids. You may not do it directly, but the message is received when you yell and holler that your kid is the best cheerleader on the team. Again, there are strengths and faults to all of the cheerleaders. We, the coaches, know their strengths, and we see their faults. We hide those faults so you don’t see them in anything other than a perfect light. Harsh maybe. But, it’s the truth. Quitting. If you choose to pull your athlete off the team a week (or a day) before a competition, you better have a better reason other than you just didn’t get your way. You’re teaching them it’s okay to quit; it’s okay to give up. It may be okay to you, but we are the ones that piece together the rest of the team that you ultimately let down. You knowingly or unknowingly put your daughter in the middle of childish behavior, because ‘the big. bad coach’ said words you didn’t want to hear. You are not hurting me, you are hurting their teammates, and you are hurting your own child as they continue to see all the fun their team had without them, as well as possibly breaking any friendship they made along the way. I am protective. If you hurt my cheerleaders, you now have me to deal with me, and I will remember for future years the pain you caused them. It may be a temporary pain, because they soon realize that it will be okay, but nonetheless unnecessary pain.

4. As an adult, we have to earn everything.
In school it’s the same. Guess what, it’s the same in cheerleading, as well as any other sport. It doesn’t matter if your athlete is the greatest on that team–their spots are NEVER secure. Remember, there is a difference between confidence and cockiness: confidence is something you work to keep, and I have found those who are cocky slack off with the mindset they aren’t going anywhere because ‘no one is better than them’. LOL–not on my team, nor anyone else’s that I speak to! I will always reward the cheerleader that works their butt off at every practice, and the ones that you can tell went home and practiced. To me, that’s strength. They want it, they want that win, and they want to improve and prove to themselves that they can do it. How could you not reward them for it? Hard work pays off. Hard work is more valuable than ‘loyalty’. The only safe person is the one who fights for their spots, week in and week out. At all costs, through the tears and sweat, there are ones that never give up.

5. Realize we love your child.
Again, I am only speaking on behalf of a small percentage of coaches out there, but we seriously do. We are probably more proud of them than you are. We have seen it all, seen where they started and all the progress in between. It’s just magical to watch, and be a part of it. I know I don’t want to have any problems with parents because of the love I have for your children. No good coach would ever put your child in harm’s way, or embarrass them. However, we have to think of them as all, not just one. Please, respect us. Please come to us kindly, and ask any questions. Communicate: tell me what you don’t like, but respect our final decision if we take the time to explain it to you. Show us the same respect that we show you. Grow with us, learn with us, be a part of everything with us, no matter what. Stop stamping us as ‘bad guys’ because we don’t view any one child as the sun of the team. The team is a galaxy. If you deliberately choose to be one of ‘those parents’, take a step back and evaluate if team sports are for you. Keyword, YOU. Your child is probably more than capable of being a productive member of a team, but you aren’t. Allow them to see if they are able to, allow them to live their own life without mom or dad reliving their childhood through them. And, by all means, if you think you can do it better than us, step up and do it. Instead of being that nagging parent, become a coach.

Can you relate? Tell us in the comments!